Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is There REALLY Room for Differences?

Sometimes I get tired. Okay, I'm tired most of the time, but sometimes I get tired of people telling me what to do. Good people. People I respect and who I know hold their convictions and beliefs out of love and wisdom and research and knowledge. Thanks to the Internet, we all know now exactly how everyone strongly believes we should think and act.

And I'm also a little confused. A main thought these days is that we should embrace and love people even as we disagree. But that doesn't seem to stop anyone from writing and proclaiming and advocating for their way of life. I try to read non-fiction and blogs. I really do. But at their core, they are still telling me what to do. And they've written their book or post because they earnestly believe people should think the way they do.

Often my biggest beef lies with those who write about the state of today's Church. People band together, pointing their fingers at one congregation or group within the congregation or person in the congregation, making sure that everyone knows how much they disagree with that one thing. Or they'll generalize, saying how ALL churches should be (insert a certain action.)

But what if there is room? What if there is room for a church who is burdened for the inner city AND a church who longs to serve the increasingly unchurched middle class suburb? Or upper class suburb for that matter? There are so many different groups here in America and out in the world, and are we really supposed to have ONE method and expect them all to fit in? Can we really say that those churches with new buildings  and fresh carpet and paint in the suburbs, who works hard on excellent music and current technology, is missing the point? Because they're not in the downtown areas every day? If everyone goes downtown, who will serve the people who aren't downtown? And of course if everyone stuck to the suburbs, then whole groups of people will slip through the cracks.

Paul goes into great detail about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. It's a good thing he wasn't a journalist, sticking to as few words as possible. I mean, he really takes his analogy as far as it will go. Which tells me it's important. It's important to grasp the understanding that there are different parts, with their different functions, and that they are equally important to the body of Christ. This alone tells me there is room.

I guess what I'm saying is, I wish those articles and books said less of "You SHOULD be doing this" and more of "Hey, I'm doing this over here!" That's it. That's all anyone needs to hear. That something is going on over there, not how important it is and why it's the most important thing ever and why you should be doing it too. God gave us each our personalities, talents and interests, and they will be peaked by different things. It doesn't make you better or worse to be interested. It just makes you you.

Because the thing is, chances are the people doing that thing over there that seems unimportant to you might just be the thing God has called them to do. Just because a church spent money replacing their carpet doesn't mean no one prayed about it. Or that the pastors and elders are only concerned about appearances. If that one thing doesn't interest you, then you should be working in another part. Because all parts need tending to. And if the church you go to now doesn't focus on the things you want to focus on, then you have the freedom to go find one that is burdened for the same things you are. And when you go, I hope you go with a smile and a "keep up the good work, brother! I'm going to work over here for awhile."

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